Molokai Ranch Employees Lose Jobs

MOLOKAI (KHNL) - An economic shake-up on Molokai leaves families scrambling to figure out how to make ends meet.

This, after Molokai Ranch announces plans to shut down and layoff more than 100 employees.

Molokai Ranch blames the shut-down on the community, saying that opposition to its plans for 200 luxury homes on beachfront property at Laau led to the ranch's downfall.

The intense battle over plans to develop Molokai Ranch hit a breaking point Monday.

"We had a reporter that went up to Molokai Ranch to get more information about the recent announcement and he was verbally and physically threatened by Molokai Ranch General Manager John Pele," said Todd Yamashita, owner and editor-in-chief of The Molokai Dispatch newspaper.

The friction comes amid an announcement from management that it plans to shut down by the end of March and lay off more than 120 employees over the next 60 days.

"There are jobs. The problem is that with 7500 people, when you take 125 jobs out of that economy, it's a huge ripple impact so families will be feeling it," said Senator Kalani English who represents Molokai.

Company CEO Peter Nicholas said community protests over its master plan caused unacceptable delays.

With a ranch that makes up almost a third of the island set to close, island leaders are now looking for ways to help those losing their jobs.

An employee at Molokai Ranch said they did not see the shut-down coming.